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Stella Pope DuarteStella Pope Duarte<div class="ExternalClass7B4FF31E78FA441F9F64601086418B0D"><div><h2><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><span data-ccp-charstyle="Hyperlink">Let Their Spirits Dance</span></span> </a><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><span data-ccp-parastyle="heading 4">by Stella Pope Duarte</span></span> </h2><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><br>Inspired to write by a prophetic dream of her father in 1995, Irish Latina author, Stella Pope Duarte, believes that writing, like love, begins within, or it doesn’t start at all. Hailed by critics as a “major, literary voice in America,” Duarte is described by reviewers as a “magical weaver with a sure hand and a pure heart,” and as an author who “will enlarge humanity.” Her works include: </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><em>Fragile Night</em></span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><em>; </em></span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><em>Let Their Spirits Dance</em></span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><em>; </em></span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><em>If I Die in Juarez</em></span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><em>; </em></span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><em>Women Who Live in Coffee Shops and Other Stories</em></span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><em>;</em></span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><em> Writing Through Revelations,</em></span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><em>Visions and Dreams: The memoir of a writer’s soul</em></span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">, and <em>R</em></span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><em>aul H. Yzaguirre: Seated at the Table of Power</em></span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">. In 2020, Duarte completed the 100-year history of Phoenix College, </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><em>Our Past Your Future</em></span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">. All proceeds from the book will go to student scholarships. </span> <br></p></div><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Duarte’s literary works have won awards and honors nationwide, including a 2009 American Book Award; Southwest Book of the Year Award; Women in American History Award; nomination to ONE BOOK AZ; Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award; Independent Publisher’s Book of the Year Award; Arizona Highways Book of the Year Award; a Book Sense 76 Selection, and the Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature. In 2013 Duarte was honored as one of four Women Makers of Arizona, and included as part of the PBS Special: MAKERS: Women Who Make America. </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></div><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Born and raised in the Sonorita Barrio in South Phoenix, Duarte currently writes from her home in Phoenix a few miles away from the place of her birth. She credits faith and the love of family as the foundation for her literary success. </span> <br></p></div><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">“I recall walking to Harmon Library to check out books, and to the Phoenix Public Library in the downtown area. Words danced inside my head. There is creative power in children who read!” </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></div><div><h3><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">What prompted you to write this book?</span> </h3><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">In my short story collection, </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><em>Fragile Night</em>,</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"> I wrote a story "Cobra" which was about a soldier suffering the effects of the Vietnam War many years after his service. The Vietnam War was raging, as I entered college. Guys I knew in high school and college went to Vietnam, and some never came back. The war haunted me. As a counselor/educator, I had worked with people suffering PTSD, and originally thought I'd write about America's struggle to come to terms with the war. However, thanks to a Vietnam vet who encouraged me to tell a story of a soldier and his family from Phoenix, I was able to change direction and write a novel that I believe I was born to write. In fact, one of the reasons for my birth in this time period, was to write </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><em>Let Their Spirits Dance</em></span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">. Once I decided to write this historical novel…unexplained and wondrous events evolved! The gratitude of Vietnam vets, their tears and applause were my inspiration.</span> <br></p></div><div><h3><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">What attracted you to this genre: romance, mystery, non-fiction, etc.?</span> </h3><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">I love history! It is through looking back, that we can get our bearings and understand where we are, and where we are going. This historical novel challenged me at all levels, but the message was clear. We carry with us our past, present and future; we are timeless life forces and to stretch even further, we are part of the invisible tapestry of the universe. </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></div><div><h3><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Are any of the characters in your book based on real people and if so, who? </span> </h3><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">My research for this novel was extensive. Many interviews were conducted across the country and in Vietnam as well. I had vowed to dedicate the book to the first soldier whose family I interviewed who had died in Vietnam. That soldier, Tony Cruz, had told his family as he left for the war, that someday he would make history, that they would read about him in a book, and that he would be famous. Tony became the inspiration for my novel, and his words are said in the novel by Jesse Ramirez at Sky Harbor Airport. Tony Cruz’s body was sent to the wrong address and in the novel Jesse Ramirez suffers the same fate, however, no other links were made directly to Tony’s life. Instead, the interviews with many vets led me to piece together, as best I could, what they had suffered in a war that became one of the most controversial and unpopular wars in American history. Their suffering was real long after the war ended.</span> <br></p></div><div><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">What type of research did you do to write your book?</span> <br><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">My research involved NUMEROUS hours spent transcribing interviews I completed on Vietnam veterans and their families in the U.S. and memories of families and those who had fought for U.S. forces in Vietnam. I studied Vietnamese in order to understand some of the language before I went to Vietnam. I followed the route the Ramirez family takes to get to the Vietnam Memorial Wall in a cavalcade of cars, marking each city, and especially their entrance into D.C. I spent long hours researching from books, periodicals, newspapers, internet sources, actual letters of vets, also interviewing military experts in D.C., and watching every movie I could find on the Vietnam War and on the controversy it caused in the U.S. An “unexplained encounter” with the “guys” on the Vietnam Wall caused me to understand that they wanted this book written. Each time at the Wall, I showed them my progress. Prayer, and asking for guidance were vital in completing this novel. </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></div><div><h3><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">What book are you currently reading?</span> </h3><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">I read several books at a time. On hand is <em>T</em><em>he </em></span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><em>Seven Storey Mountain</em></span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">, by Thomas Merton; Jean Stafford’s short story, “In the Zoo,” (part of her collection); Nathan Englander’s short story, “The Twenty-Seventh Man,” in </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><em>For the Relief of Unbearable Urges</em></span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">, and Annie Proulx, </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><em>The Shipping News</em></span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">. </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></div><div><h3><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Are you writing anything now? If so, when will it come out?</span> </h3><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">I am writing the screenplay for </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><em>Let Their Spirits Dance</em></span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">; a fantasy Sci-Fi, </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><em>Once We Were Wolves</em></span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">, and a heartfelt endeavor, </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US"><em>Reflections From the Pale Blue Dot: The Mystery of Free Will</em>. </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">No publication dates are available. </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></div><div><h3><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">If you weren't a writer, what would you do?</span> </h3><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Find another way to express my creative power. I used to sing for years, so I would probably turn to singing again, or some form of musical adventure. </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></p></div><div><h3><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Do you use your local library? If so, which library is it and what do you do there?</span> </h3><p><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-US">Yes, I have depended on the Burton Barr location for archival information on historical issues. I’ve been able to attain very helpful and timely information that has been essential to my work. Over the years, I have checked out books for myself and my children and grandchildren at several branches. As a child, Harmon Park Library and the Phoenix Public Library were second homes for me.</span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> ​</span></p></div></div>





Let Their Spirits Dance by Stella Pope DuarteLet Their Spirits Dance by Stella Pope Duarte